Roller Derby: The Only Four Skills You Need to Succeed

The online derbyverse is filled with posts by skaters who aren't quite able to master a particular skill. Whether it’s crossovers, transitions, one-foot glides, I read posts all the time written by skaters who are (figuratively) shitting all over themselves when they can’t nail skills after only 3 or 4 practices. One post I recall reading on Facebook (or making up just now by mashing up 4 or 5 different posts) said this:

I’ve only been skating for about 10 hours in total but I totally suck. I try to get my one-foot glides and I totally fall down every time. If another skater even looks at me trying to do it I fall down. I just wanna crawl under a rock and die. This is sooooo hard. I need advice, pleeeease!

You want it, you've got it. There are only 4 skills you need to succeed in roller derby. 

1. Relax.

When was the last time you became an expert in something after only 10 hours? And how’s the pressure to do it working out for you? Show yourself some derby luv and patience. After all, this is the only time you'll ever live the journey of being fresh meat. Enjoy the scenery, it's beautiful and you don't want to miss it.

2. Let go.

Of what other skaters are doing. Of what you think you did wrong. Of what others may think of you. None of that stuff is your business. When you’re busy living in other people’s minds by worrying about what they’re doing or what they’re thinking, who’s living your life right now?

3. Have fun.

Last time I checked, learning to roller skate and play derby was all about that. Wait. Let me check again… yup, still about fun. Give yourself permission to have fun while you’re learning. Forget about counting your laps the next time you do endurance. Resist the temptation to ask how you did afterward. Skate for the sheer fun of skating, for the raw feeling of leaving it all out there and let that drive you around the track. Take that feeling home with you after practice. Wear it to bed and wake up with it in the morning.

4. Keep failing.

#Fail over and over again and do it spectacularly. Push yourself to fail. If you aren’t failing you’re not succeeding either. Studies show that people who are relaxed about failing when learning new things soon learn to do them well. In fact, they often do better than people who worry about doing things perfectly at the get go. Build your success on failure. Fail a mountain of fails to your success. When you get to the top, fail a new mountain for the fun of it. Enjoy the view. You’ve earned it.

Relax. Let go. Have fun. Keep failing.